Over my younger years, I had a variety of film-cameras that I would take with me on various trips, but not many pictures survived. I’ve found a few photo albums, still preserved in ye olde worlde Max Spielmann packets. The earliest one is from a school holiday to Annecy (France).

Modern day

My interest in photography came on leaps and bounds when working for 4Front Services (part of the NCR group these days) in Watford. We had to support the latest hardware which, one Xmas, was the Barney toy (it sat on a circular USB hub and allowed the few games to ‘talk’ to it) and a Kodak digital camera. This beast of a camera (it was in 1998/1999 so was probably a ‘standard size’ for the time) could only take 2 Megapixel images. But you could delete unwanted images with ease, as well as download them via USB to your PC.

I’ve had more than my fair share of digital ‘pocket’ cameras since then and each one was better than the other. My little Canon IXUS 20 was my first “proper” digital camera in that it had a half-decent optical zoom (for the time!) and other funky features built-in to the software.

However, the Samsung Galaxy Camera was the first ‘eye opener’ for me as it came with a 21x zoom and, as it was Android-powered, meant that I could have a few (!) of my Android apps installed on it. It made an excellent way to take higher quality pictures than my Android phone could at the time. It had a SIM card option built-in, so I bought a monthly data-only contract with GiffGaff and I could upload pictures from wherever I was.

I currently own a Nikon B900 which is a bridge camera and what a wonderful device it is. A nice 63x zoom and superb macro lens built in.

Taking pictures with my Smartphone too!

In late 2018, I upgraded to a Huawei Mate Pro 20 as my smartphone. Even without using the built-in camera AI, it takes a damn good photo! I found this review on Digital Camera World more than enough to get me to take the plunge.

If you follow me on that there Instagram (see below), you can see some pictures from a recent Xmas jaunt around Paris, Antwerp and Amsterdam showing off what’s possible from a “smartphone” 🙂


I have been on Instagram for a few years now. However, I started out using Streamzoo first. Streamzoo was a lot better than Instagram as you didn’t just have to stick to the usual ‘square shape only’ format. However, when Streamzoo had to give up their hosting of photography images, probably due to the massive amounts of money that changed hands when Facebook bought Instagram, I had a few weeks to manually back up every photo that I had uploaded! Very few were moved across to Instagram, but they’re all sat on a backup server these days.

All of my pictures (again, that work with Instagram’s square limits) are posted under my BillOddieClone guise. This nickname was picked due to someone I worked with many years ago at IBM helpdesk in Liverpool – his name was Andi Gow and he could ride a unicycle! He mentioned that I looked like Bill Oddie, so picking the Instagram user name was easy.

The fact that a few variants nearer to my first choice of “MugUK” were already taken, probably helped me go in the direction of this new ‘nom de plume’.

Instameets with IgersMCR

I go on a few Instameets courtesy of the IgersMcr group.

I used to take my Samsung Galaxy Camera, but these days my newer Nikon B700 bridge camera goes along with me.

I’ve seen bits of Manchester that I didn’t know existed and each Instameet is a combination of amateurs, semi-professionals and real pros.

However, despite meeting all of these clever people on these Instameets, I still don’t know how to use a “proper” camera. I owned a Canon DSLR for a while, but the constant changing of lens for different types of shot just didn’t gel, so I sold it on.